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Planing board considers major project on KM Ranch Road

by HEIDI DESCH
Daily Inter Lake | July 13, 2022 12:00 AM

The Flathead County Planning Board on Wednesday will consider a proposal for about 155 acres at the south end of KM Ranch Road that could result in a housing and commercial project.

Montarise Developments, LLC is requesting a zone change for three parcels of land located on the north side of KM Ranch Road just north of the county landfill. The request is to change the zoning from SAG-5 suburban agricultural to R-1 suburban residential, which would reduce the minimum lot size from 5 acres to 1 acre.

The planning board will meet at 6 p.m. in the Expo Building at the Flathead County Fairgrounds, 265 N. Meridian Road, Kalispell.

The request had been set to be discussed at the June planning board meeting, but due to the standing-room-only crowd that showed up to the meeting, the board chose to delay the issue until this month.

The Montarise property is undeveloped and forested. The developer is planning a residential mixed-use planned unit development for the property that would incorporate housing and compatible commercial use, according to the application with the county.

Under current zoning, the property could be developed with about 30 lots, but following the zone change that would move to about 150 lots. However, Montarise in its application says it intends to use a PUD for the project, thus using about 20 acres of the property for commercial use and the remaining 135 acres for 268 housing units.

APEC Engineering, representing Montarise, wrote in the application that increased demand for housing has redefined the local housing market and by increasing the housing inventory that can serve to fulfill the demand.

Two nonprofit community groups centered around development have come out against the proposal — Flathead Families for Responsible Growth and Friends for Responsible Rural Growth.

The friends group on its website says that while it knows change and growth are inevitable, it says the Montarise project “in no way conforms to the character of the surrounding community,” saying that it would cause a serious negative effect on public health, safety and welfare of the surrounding properties and its residents.

“We acknowledge the need for additional affordable and workforce development housing,” the group says. “The Montarise LLC’s proposal does not promise affordable housing; only more.”

A detailed traffic impact study is in the process of being developed for the subdivision, but the project is estimated to generate about 3,000 average daily trips. About 55% of that traffic would use KM Ranch Road.

The planning staff report notes that the proposal could have a negative impact on the transportation system because the proposal could create a 120% increase in traffic on KM Ranch near the intersection of U.S. 93.

THREE OTHER items appear on the agenda for the meeting.

A zone change is being requested by Darryl Swisher for property in the Evergreen Zoning District. The proposal would change the zoning on a parcel of land located at 121 Springcreek Drive from one-family limited residential to suburban residential. The property is just over 1 acre.

A request from Breckenridge Surveying and Mapping and 406 Engineering, on behalf of James Peek, on behalf of Jeremy and Desirae Myers, for a preliminary plat of the resubdivision of lot 1 of Lost Coon Lake located at 1520 Karrow Avenue. The proposal looks to create two residential lots on 11.98 acres.

The proposed lots would be served by a shared well and individual septic systems.

A request from Anna Vickers and Jeff Walls of IMEG Corp, on behalf of Derek Nicoll and Gregory Thompson, for a preliminary plat approval of the amended plat of Eagles Crest Lot 8. The proposal is to create two residential lots on 7.59 acres at 86 Big Rock Ridge Road in Lakeside. The proposed lots would be served by individual septic systems and a shared well.

Features Editor Heidi Desch may be reached at 758-4421 or hdesch@dailyinterlake.com.